Monticello and San Juan high schools continued their winning football ways Friday night, the Buckaroos in a wild, high scoring affair 64-40 win over Diamond Ranch Academy of Hurricane and the Broncos in a tough 25-13 home win over the Beaver Beavers.
Monticello jumped to a 34-14 halftime lead but watched as DR came roaring back in the third quarter to pull within 40-34. The young Bucks regrouped, however, and used a strong fourth quarter effort to get the critical win, setting up an interesting non-region contest against the undefeated Duchesne Eagles this week.
San Juan rode the BARK, QB Barkley Christensen, to gain the win over Beaver in frigid conditions. Christensen threw for two TDs and ran for two, including a 90-yard kickoff return to start the second half that broke a 7-7 tie and warmed up the powerful Bronco offense for the Broncos 27th consecutive win that stretches over three seasons.
Is football any different in Tennessee, Sportshorts wonders? So, we attended the Cumberland County High School Jets and Stone Memorial High School Panthers football game in Crossville, TN. CCHS and STHS are cross town rivals and met in CCHS’s stadium.
The Jets, sporting light blue and gold uniforms, have a venerable old stadium, with bleachers on only one side of the field but holding at least 10,000 people. It took quite some time to find a parking place, but we joined several cars parked on the grass and hoofed out way to the stadium.
We paid the $6 entrance fee, after discovering that a Utah High School Athletic Association press pass does not have privileges in Tennessee. We entered the stadium and moved down to the front row. Across the field, where no bleachers were, but where a couple hundred more fans were spread out, stood a real Air Force jet, mounted on a pedestal. That was cool.
But even with the cool jet, the Jets were no match for their football rivals, the Panthers of brand spanking new Stone Memorial High School, who rushed out to a 32-0 halftime lead using the same winged T offense and the same Black and white colors, minus the orange, of the Buckaroos of Monticello. The football was power football, though not appreciably better than our own football in Utah.
There were a couple of differences away from the playing field, however. First of all, the atmosphere in the stands was picnicish. The din of the conversation amongst the fans nearly drowned out the sounds of the football game. The high schooler fans from each school occupied opposite ends of the stadium and stood throughout the entire contest, even halftime.
There wasn’t much interest in the game: people were there to visit with friends and family, it seemed, not so much to watch the game.
It reminded me a little of our high school dances, where kids stand around and visit, with occassional brief attempts at dancing here and there. Few ever seem to dance for a complete song. Here much the same.
Both schools had full strength cheerleader teams who stood three deep in tight formation on the track. Students in the stands (oh, they call them stands because the students stand?) would join only haphazardly with the cheers.
The only cheer that seemed to get the Jet faithful particiapting was one that seems foreverrrrrrr stuck in my mind, “Jeeeeeeettttttttt priiiiide, Jeeeeeeetttttttt Priiide, Jeeettttt Priide, Jet Pride, Jet Pride” which was repeated over and over in a Ollie-Ollie-ox-in-free kind of sing songie voice, with an increasing speed until it became unintelligible. Then they would start it all over again, several times. Maybe the home team blue and gold Jets gettin’ shellacked had something to do with it the furvor of “Jet Pride”.
Another difference are the halftime activities. Both schools had marching bands, who performed intricate and enjoyable halftime routines. Stone Memorial’s band is only 25 strong, but is accompanied by baton twirlers, flag wavers, and a gun-toting precision drlll team. I’d have to say though, that the Jets won the battle of the bands with their nearly 70 strong precision marching band and their highly choreographed and obviously practiced routine, with twirlers, wavers, and gun-toters set to the Pirates of the Carribbean and complete with a sword fight between Elizabeth and Captain Jack.
The drum cadence was Wayne Erickson-esque and brought the lethargic Jets crowd almost to its feet.
But the most startling difference came early in the third quarter, when a Jet fan, named Josh Burner said the fans around us, showed off his own athletic ability. As the Jets were trying to mount a comeback and were facing a critical third and seven play, Burner lived up to his name and forced the crowd to focus on the field for the first time.
Starting in the south endzone, dressed in only his grey tighty-almost-whities, Burner headed up the field at top speed, past a non-challant head referee and two teams of football players who barely turned to watched.
Burner was living up to his name, “full tilt boogie” as we used to say, actually picking up speed as he neared the two assembled teams at midfield. He veered neither left or right, but continued on down the field, past the nonplussed teams, at Olympic speed, through the north endzone, and over the track as the crowed groggily awakened to his exploits and began to cheer. The biggest cheer of all came as Burner climbed the six-foot high chain link fence, no easy feat in tighty whities, leaped to the ground and continued on out of sight up the street and into the warm October Tennessee night.
I hoped he had some clothes waiting somewhere in the night as he left his old ones way behind. We left immediately, positive that nothing could top what we had just witnessed.
Tennessee high school football, entertaining at least.
Next week, a trip to Knoxville to attend an SEC football game.